I am reading in Exodus, familiar stories such as baby Moses floating on the Nile River in a basket, or literally, in an ark. What a sweet image, that precious baby boy, hidden in the papyrus reeds, with his big sister Miriam watching him from a distance. But the facts leading up to this are far from pretty. Hard slave labor. Infanticide, targeting all Hebrew baby boys.
“But the sons of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly and multiplied, and became exceedingly mighty, so that the land was filled with them. Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, ‘Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply and in the event of war, they also join themselves to those who hate us, and fight against us, and depart from the land.’ So they appointed taskmasters over them to afflict them with hard labor. And they built for Pharaoh storage cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread out, so that they were in dread of the sons of Israel…Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, ‘Every son who is born you are to cast into the Nile, and every daughter you are to keep alive.’ Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it, and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. And his sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him.” ~ Exodus 1:7-12, 22-2:4
The people of Israel had done well in the land of Egypt. Remember, God had promised Jacob “‘I am God, the God of your fathers; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt,…'” ~ Genesis 46:3-4a. God was fulfilling this promise, and the sons of Israel were now a great nation indeed, “more and mightier” than the Egyptians. And this frightened the Egyptian people. So they decided to treat the Israelites harshly.
In spite of the terrible work conditions and forced hard labor, the Israelites still grew “more and mightier”. So, Pharaoh turned to murder. Every Hebrew boy child born was to be tossed alive into the Nile River.
What a despicable thing, the killing of babies. Yet here we are in the twenty-first century, and we are doing just that. In India, girl babies are aborted in hopes that the next pregnancy will be a boy child. Girls are too expensive with dowries and such. Many girls who are carried to term and born alive are abandoned, or thrown into the river. In China, where couples are allowed only one child, again boys are preferred, so many girl babies are aborted and unwanted, sometimes killed at birth. Or, should you be caught disobeying the one child rule, the State can seize your baby and “take care of it”. How can this be accepted in our modern, civilized world??
Let’s look at our own country, and the rest of the Western world. Not only do we kill babies, but it is looked upon as a government-given right. Abortion is simply another birth control option. It is killing for convenience, plain and simple. Who wants to make sacrifices for another person to be given life, or pay consequences for actions? We take pride in the fact that we don’t kill babies once they have been born, yet. But isn’t that only a matter of time?
“…and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. So God heard their groaning;…” ~ Exodus 2:23b-24a
Whoa unto Egypt for their unrepentant Pharaoh’s hard heart. Whoa unto us for our unrepentant nation. Please, God, change hearts and forgive us.